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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Carnegie will need to make changes for ADA compliance

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One of Linton's oldest landmarks must now work with the present requirements to ensure all have access to it.

Two problems exist for the Carnegie Heritage and Arts Center's historic status which means it faces an unusual problem in reaching Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

First, the former Margaret Cooper Library's two-story construction, now 104 years old, wasn't built to meet current access standards.

However, it's also part of the National Historic Registry, which limits what can be done to alter the exterior.

"It's a historic building," explained Heritage and Arts Center Council President Donna Kluesner. "So there's only so much we can do with the building's exterior."

The second problem the former library faces is finding funds to make the acceptable alterations, money which is likely to be received through grants.

A likely solution to the access issue, Arts Center Council Vice President Fred Markle said, is taking a single window out on the building's north side and installing an entry - potentially with a wheelchair ramp - which would allow easier access for seniors and the disabled.

"Basically, we're not going to do anything to the building except take out one window," Markle said. "The building itself, we're not going to do anything to. We're not changing the whole thing over, so it looks different."

The building's present entryway is on the south side, and so placing the new handicapped accessible entryway on the north side won't alter the facade.

"Instead of putting it on the front, where it would look out of place, we're putting it on the north side," Markle said.

"It's not a very high traffic area," Kluesner said. "So that may be a solution."

Markle already has expertise in ADA compliance. He doubles as a city councilman and has been appointed to Linton's ADA Compliance Committee by Mayor John Wilkes.

The former library's storied history began Dec. 24, 1907, when a promissory letter from millionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie provided Linton with $15,000 to build it.

Land donated by the Joe Moss family on the northeast corner of NE 1st and Vincennes streets established the location, with the architects Patton and Miller employed to design the facility.

Per the Linton Public Library's website, the former Margaret Cooper Library, named for its longest lasting librarian, retains essentially the same look it did when completed in 1908.

One of only 19 Carnegie libraries constructed in the Tudor style, the property was used for its original intent until July 14, 2007.

Thereafter, the library operations transferred to the new location at 95 SE 1st St., a property purchased from the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce.

While the Linton Public Library presently maintains ownership of the former library, it has been renamed and utilized as the Heritage and Arts Center.

The facility contains art galleries showcasing local creative works and has also housed seminars on writing and art, music lessons and other events.

Additionally, it is also the present location of a museum honoring Phil Harris, a former Linton native famed as a bandleader and actor, and his wife Alice Faye.

The couple, both now deceased, made recurring trips to Linton and the Phil Harris Festival (and later the Greene County Foundation Festival), which ended last year.

Linton's Phil Harris Golf Course is also named in the late actor's honor, as he was an avid golfer whose love of the links inspired the city to hold an annual golf tournament for charity scholarships benefiting local students.

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"While the Linton Public Library presently maintains ownership of the former library, it has been renamed and utilized as the Heritage and Arts Center"

Actually the Carnegie is owned and managed by the non-profit The Carnegie Heritage & Arts Center of Greene County, Inc.

-- Posted by Donna K on Fri, Apr 13, 2012, at 9:42 AM

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